Centers that change, change your center
2021-22 Itaka-Escolapios Solidarity Campaign
Igor Irigoyen – General Coordinator of Itaka-Escolapios
With these brief words I present to you, on behalf of the Executive Committee, the next solidarity campaign of the Itaka-Escolapios network, whose slogan is “Centers that change, change your center”.
The first thing I would like to do is to precisely explain the reason for this slogan. As can be seen, the key idea of the slogan is to change, to transform. The campaign is focused on getting to know, promoting, and supporting the transformative power of education and, in particular, of the educational centers that are part of the Itaka-Escolapios network. They are very diverse centers, but they all have something in common, very typical of the Piarist mission: to understand their educational work as a transformative action that goes beyond the classroom, even beyond the physical limits and the people of the center itself, to open up to the neighborhood or town, to the surrounding society, and promote real changes to improve the living conditions and the future of the community.
In this campaign, we will have the opportunity to know and exchange specific experiences, in several parts of the world, of how the educational centers of Itaka-Escolapios are transforming reality, in addition to sharing initiatives and proposals to grow together in this transforming potential.
Likewise, with this solidarity campaign we also want to continue promoting an initiative of Itaka-Escolapios that is aimed at developing this important dimension in a transversal manner. Educa, the educational network for social transformation, is a project fully aligned with the Global Compact on Education, an initiative of Pope Francis in which Itaka-Escolapios, as part of the Pious Schools, participates and wants to contribute. We are talking about an education actively committed to the values of peace, social justice, fraternity, and care for the common home, through the participation of children and young people.
On the other hand, we must also make reference to the time in which we are carrying out this campaign: a context still very affected by the pandemic and its consequences, and that continues to concern us especially in terms of its impact on the most vulnerable people. COVID-19 continues to challenge us and, in fact, in many places of the Itaka-Escolapios network, the educational work has not yet recovered, and it will be difficult for it to do so soon. And as we are seeing in the short-term, but also in the medium and long-term, the impacts are more severe the more vulnerable the population is.
For this reason, the campaign is a call to respond with solidarity to the challenge presented, in times of pandemic and post-pandemic, to carry out this transformative educational work. It is a solidarity that today is absolutely necessary for the Itaka-Escolapios network to continue to support dozens of educational centers in various countries, working in situations of special vulnerability and poverty.
Finally, this transformative approach of the campaign is also addressed to each of the people who participate in this campaign, and to those we are going to reach out. The invitation is to let ourselves be changed, transformed, even “decentered”, based on the realities that we are going to come across, and the dynamics of solidarity that are proposed to us. Undoubtedly, we live in times in which this attitude is more necessary than ever to walk towards the future with hope. Surely this campaign can make a significant contribution to this, so we encourage you to actively participate. Thank you very much!